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08.00 - Introduction to Designing and Fabricating Electronics Enclosures

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As a project progresses, knowledge about the size of components and the needs of structure increases. One may not have assembled all of the hardware yet, but the amount and size of power supplies is likely known as well as the external wiring connections needed. The final form of the project can still be fluid but most projects benefit from having a dedicated enclosure for the micro-controller, electronics modules, power supplies, batteries and everything else involved tin the project. Some pieces might need to be fully enclosed to protect the electronic circuit as well as the user. Other parts, such as motors, LEDs, switches, speakers, may only need a secure mounting point and not need to be fully enclosed. Sometimes an off the shelf electronics project box is the perfect fit and can same time and money over making something custom. Other times it is necessary to design and fabricate a custom enclosure in whole or in part to meet a project’s specific needs.

Learning Objectives

  • Assess the space needs of all the components of a project as a whole
  • Sketch, ideate, and iterate potential project enclosure designs
  • Review off the shelf enclosures to see if they can meet the needs of the project
  • Use basic 3D Modeling or analog technical drawing to design an enclosure for fabrication
  • Use appropriate fabrication methods including 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, CNC Milling, Water Jet Cutting, and traditional metal, wood, and plastic fabrication techniques
  • Examine existing enclosures for ideas and inspiration from proven design and fabrication techniques


  • Electronics enclosure
  • Panel mount connector
  • Panel mount switch
  • Stand off stud / screw
  • Threaded insert
  • Tap and die
  • Machine thread screw